(New York, NY -- July 07, 2005) -- With Washington, DC as its convention site, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, will set a capital example for the power of women in the nation’s seat of government. One of the many highlights of the Hadassah National Convention, to be held July 17-20, will be a visit to Capitol Hill by some 1,500 Hadassah members from 37 states, who will hold more than 150 meetings with their own Members of Congress. While there, they will discuss issues that are high on Hadassah’s agenda: the significance of U.S.-Israel relations and the importance of advanced medical research.
The 91st annual convention, “What So Proudly We Hail,” expects to draw some 2,000 Hadassah delegates from across the country and will feature a roster of elected and appointed officials, many of them women, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL); Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL); and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY). Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-DE), the co-author of the recent House bill to expand federal funding for stem cell research, will also appear, as will Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and The Hon. Daniel Ayalon, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
Also serving as keynote speakers and panelists will be a host of academic and policy experts, including Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union; Dr. Vivian Pinn, Director, Office of Research on Women’s Health Issues, National Institutes of Health; Ellen R. Malcolm, President, EMILY’s List; Linda Chavez, President, Center for Equal Opportunity; Gloria Feldt, Immediate Past President, Planned Parenthood; Tamara Cofman Wittes, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute; Dee Dee Myers, journalist; Daniel P. Perry, President, Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research; and David Makovsky, Senior Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
This year’s Henrietta Szold Award, Hadassah’s highest honor, will be awarded to a husband and wife team: the Honorable Daniel C. Kurtzer, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, and his wife, Sheila Kurtzer. Since its establishment in 1949, the humanitarian award has honored individuals who represent the ideals and beliefs of Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah. The first recipient of the Henrietta Szold Award was Eleanor Roosevelt; over the years, statesmen, elected officials and other humanitarians have received the award, including Elie Wiesel, George Schultz, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.
The Kurtzers, who will receive the award on Tuesday evening, July 19, at the gala banquet, embody the Jewish values basic to Henrietta Szold and Hadassah – love of Israel and the Jewish people. Before being appointed ambassador to Israel in 2001, Ambassador Kurtzer served as the top U.S. envoy to Egypt. His wife, Sheila Kurtzer, has been an active partner in her husband’s Foreign Service career for 28 years, and currently serves as president of the Hadassah International Corps Diplomatique, comprised of ambassadors to Israel and their spouses. As president, Sheila helped to raise awareness among members of the diplomatic community about the work of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel and around the world.
According to Bonnie Lipton, a past national president of Hadassah and the chair of this year’s Henrietta Szold Awards Committee: “In their service to the U.S., the Kurtzers have demonstrated an ability to make a difference in the State Department and the diplomatic world without compromising their Jewish values. That is a real statement in this world. They are receiving our most treasured award because of their steadfast love of country and their friendship to Israel and Hadassah.”
The chairs of the 91st national convention are Joyce Rabin of Woodmere, NY, and Judy Palkovitz, of Pittsburgh, PA.
91st Hadassah National Convention program highlights:
· What So Proudly We Hail will be perfectly expressed in the plenary session, The State of the Union, which will examine the alliance between the U.S. and Israel and feature The Hon. Daniel Ayalon, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE).
· In keeping with the convention’s capital theme, it will be run like a political convention with a series of caucuses and plenaries addressing issues of concern:
· Israel on the Hill will feature Prof. Shlomo Avineri, Hebrew University; Ester Kurz, AIPAC; Tamar Cofman Wittes, Saban Center for Middle East Policy;
· The First Amendment: Are Your Freedoms at Risk?: Gloria Feldt, Past President, Planned Parenthood; Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Il); Nadine Strossen, President, ACLU;
· The Future of Advanced Medical Research: Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-DE); Prof. Benjamin E. Reubinoff, Director Hadassah Research Center of Human Embryonic Stem Cells; Daniel Perry, President, Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research;
· Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear: Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Lenox Hill Hospital; Dr. Vivian W. Pinn, NIH; Judy Palkovitz, convention Co-Chair;
· Politics & Policy – Why Women Matter: Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL); Ellen R. Malcolm, President, EMILY’s List; Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author; Linda Chavez, political analyst; Dee Dee Myers, political commentator.
· Delegates will be fully briefed on Hadassah’s medical and educational projects in Israel and entertained by Israeli singer, Dudu Fisher, and the political satire musical group, The Capitol Steps.
To register for the 91st national convention, please call the convention hotline at: (877) 790-2676 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.